Tack and Attire for Showing

Appropriate Show Turnout & Attire for Andalusian Horses

The AHAA Guidelines suggest the use of either ‘Simple Spanish Attire’, Authentic Spanish Costume or English Hacking Attire for handlers in Led Breed Classes.  The following applies to both Pure and Partbred Andalusians.  There is no difference in how they are presented.

‘Simple Spanish’ means dark trousers/ jodhpurs, a white or plain muted colour shirt & a plain, dark coloured vest (optional).  A flat black, Spanish hat would be appropriate but not essential.

Authentic, Traditional Spanish riding attire (which is becoming more widespread) is tailored in muted earthy tones & does not include bright colours, braids & other adornments.  It is acceptable for ladies to wear either culottes or the mid-calf length mens riding pants but not skirts.  Long leather boots are traditional.  

If you choose either ‘Simple Spanish’ or Authentic Spanish Attire it is acceptable to leave manes & tails unplaited.  Coats should be clean; clipping is acceptable as is the use of hoof black.  False Tails are not permitted in AHAA events.

English Hacking Attire: (jodhpurs, hacking jacket, shirt, tie/stock etc) is generally teamed with a horse whose mane & tail has been plaited. 

There is a small movement towards other styles of attire for Breed Shows and it is up to individual show organisers to determine what is acceptable & what isn’t.  However, if you are competing in an Andalusian Class, it is better to keep to the AHAA Guidelines in much the same way as other breeds are identified by the attire of the handlers.  Be proud of your Spanish horse!

Footwear:  Most event organisers require that footwear is protective leather boots or closed shoes covering the top of the foot.  This is a Risk Management issue  – runners, strappy sandals or low cut, soft flat shoes will not be allowed.  Be properly prepared.  

Manes and Tails:  Although our breed standard suggests a generous, abundant mane & tail are a characteristic of the breed, if your horse has a short, pulled mane it may look better plaited than left free.  This applies to either Pure or Partbred Andalusians – most of our horses do more than just attend Breed Shows, so don’t worry if your horse doesn’t have a long flowing mane!  Makeup is not traditional for Spanish horses, so keep it subtle if you wish to use it.

Head Gear:  AHAA Shows use the ‘Spanish Workout’ which requires the use of a long lead.  Traditionally a Serretta is used for led classes in Spain.  Serrettas and long plaited leather or rope leads are available from on-line suppliers of Spanish Saddlery.

AHAA Show Rules permit the use of either a Bridle or Serretta for led classes.  Although most other Show Organisers require the use of a Bit for Stallions over 2 years of age, stallions at AHAA events may be handled with (i) a bit (ii) a combination of halter and chain or (iii) a serretta.  The over-riding consideration with any head gear is safety.  Use a bit in the mouth of a young horse (colt, filly or gelding) if you have more control and the horse is familiar with the equipment used.  If you are confident your horse is under control in a serretta, check with non AHAA Show Organisers as many will allow the use of serrettas because they are approved by the AHAA.  Some serrettas can be used in combination with a bit. (If you are purchasing a Serretta; look for one with a strap under the jaw – they are more secure than a throat lash and keep the cheek straps away from the eyes).   Serrettas are also acceptable for Mares and Geldings.

The following tack and turnout guidelines are adapted from information provided by
The British Association for the Purebred Spanish Horse


In-Hand Showing 

The recommended tack for showing Andalusian adults and large youngstock is the Spanish serreta (a type of in-hand cavesson with a serrated metal nosepiece) which must have a throatlash.  A plain or ribboned browband (with rosettes and streamers) is optional.  Conventionally, horses born in Andalucia wear a browband of green and white ribbons, those born in the rest of Spain wear red and yellow.  Other than this, some stud breeders adopt stud or house colours for their ribbons.  An alternative to the serreta is an English type in-hand bridle with snaffle or stallion bit.  For youngstock, mares or large foals, an Arab-type show halter with a throatlash may be used.  An ordinary headcollar may be used for foals.
NOTE:  A very long (10-15 feet), strong but lighweight lead line is recommended so that the horse may be run out in-hand properly and to advantage.  Plaited leather lead ropes are traditional. 

Ridden Showing (English Tack) 

English saddle.  Snaffle with cavesson, drop or flash noseband, or simple double bridle (SNAFFLE ONLY in Low School classes). NO MARTINGALES OR OTHER DEVICES.  NO BOOTS, BANDAGES, LEG WRAPS, etc. 

Ridden Showing (Spanish Tack) 

18TH CENTURY (DOMA CLASSICA or PARADE Classes):  Espa ola saddles and Spanish double bridle with horsehair mosquera.

DOMA VAQUERA: Doma Vaquera saddle. One-handed bridle with leather mosquera.  NOTE: for a full and detailed description of the requirements for full Doma Vaquera competition, please refer to the book "Traje Corto - A competitor`s guide to Doma Vaquera" by Lisa Hurlong, available through BAPSH.

20TH CENTURY DOMA CLASICA:  Espa ola saddle.  Spanish double bridle with horsehair mosquera.


In-Hand Showing 

GENTLEMEN:  options are:
Correct Spanish dress (Doma Vaquera or Doma Classica - see below) may be worn in Purebred Spanish and Hispano-Arab classes.
Sober-coloured smart and sensibly-styled jacket, e.g. tweed, navy, dark brown, black, plum, wine, bottle green, dark check - or, alternatively, a sober-coloured waistcoat on hot days.  Sober-coloured trousers.  Long-sleeved shirt with collar, plus tie, bow-tie or stock.  Sensible footwear for running a horse out in-hand.  A hat is optional - akubra, bowler, trilby, or flat cap set firmly on the head.
Full English riding dress, as for Ridden Showing 

LADIES: options are:
Correct Spanish dress (Doma Vaquera or Doma Classica with culottes, NOT a skirt - see below) may be worn in Purebred Spanish and Hispano-Arab classes.
Jacket/waistcoat and trousers as for gentlemen.  Long-sleeved shirt or blouse with collar, plus tie, bow-tie or stock.  Sensible footwear for running a horse out in-hand.  A hat or headscarf is optional, but must be set firmly on the head.
Full English riding dress, as for Ridden Showing 


English Dress

Hacking jacket or show jacket (black or blue).  Light-coloured breeches.  Long black riding boots (spurs optional).  Shirt with tie or stock.  Matching riding hat and gloves (NOT white).  Ladies should wear hair neatly tucked-up in a net or bun.  Showing cane or dressage whip optional.

Spanish Dress 

18TH CENTURY costume for DOMA CLASICA or PARADE classes:  Knee-length breeches with white hose stockings.  Boots with polainas.  Calanes with polka-dot kerchief.  Paseo jacket left open with matching waistcoat.

DOMA VAQUERA:  Grey striped or dark trousers with caireles on each leg, or grey striped trousers with white turnups. Panuelo.  Sombrero - Rocio style is most popular, usually grey or black.  Campera jacket (also known as "Guayabera") with top button (only) fastened.  Brown or tan leather boots with small heel.  White dress shirt.

20TH CENTURY DOMA CLASICA:  Dark trousers with 5 caireles on each leg.  Paseo or Rejoneador jacket, left open.  Panuelo. Sombrero - Rocio style is most popular, usually grey or black.  Dark brown leather boots.  White lace-trimmed dress shirt.

LADIES DRESS:  As above, with appropriate tack.  Tailored culottes in traditional striped or dark material with a Paseo jacket may be worn when riding astride in Doma Clasica classes.  Sidesaddle riders would wear dress as above, but subtituting a dark Amazona skirt (NOT an English habit apron) for trousers.  Flamoyant Spanish tiered dresses should (correctly) only be worn by a lady being carried on the pillion by a male horseman (unless otherwise stated).


Purebred  Horses in-hand

STALLIONS:  Mane, forelock and tail are left full and natural.  The Spanish stallion is reknowned for his luxuriant mane and tail, and it is usual to encourage as much hair length as possible.  A bridlepath is NOT usual.

MARES:  Adult breeding mares normally have their manes removed in an artistic manner which enhances their neck outline.  Hair removal is usually done with a pair of sharp scissors in order to acheive the optimum shape for each individual.  Most mares will retain a full, long forelock, but some mares' head profile may be improved by removal of the forelock also.  The tail normally has the top 8-10 inches of hair shaved close to the dock (proper clippers may be an advantage here), then the bottom of the tail is neatly squared-off to a length which best suits the mare`s individual conformation - usually somewhere between the hock joint and the fetlock.  Mares kept primarily for riding (a rare ocurrence in Spain) may be shown with a full mane and tail, as for the stallions.

FOALS AND YEARLINGS:  It is usual for foals and yealings to have mane, tail and forelock shaved off completely for exhibition purposes.  The mane should be carefully shaped to enhance the foal's neck structure to the best advantage.

TWO YEAR OLDS:  Colts are allowed to start growing their full mane and tail from the start of their "two year old" year.  Any straggly growth should be neatened up for exhibition.  Fillies are allowed to grow in their forelocks from the start of their "two year old" year, but maintain a cut and shaped mane.  The top of the tail is kept shaved (sensible guide line is to remove the hair to just below the bottom of the fillies' "private parts"), and the lower tail hair is encouraged to grow in thick and luxuriant.

OTHER EXCESS HAIR: All horses should have any stray hairs or "feathering" on the backs of the legs removed neatly (avoiding scissor marks).  Long hairs along the cheeks and jawline should be removed carefully with scissors or a razor.  Ears should have long protuding hairs neatly shortened to level with or just inside the ear rim.  Stabled horses or those in fly-free areas can have ear hair completely removed if it is felt to be appropriate.  Removal of the long tactile feeler hairs around the muzzle is optional. 

Partbred Horses in-hand 

These guidelines refer to horses of at least 25% Andalusian blood.  The method of presentation may be adjusted according to the type of partbred being shown.  Generally, partbred Spanish horses of Riding Horse, Hunter or Hack type (usually those which are part TB, Anglo-Arab, Warmblood, etc) are best presented fully plaited-up in the conventional English manner.  Alternatively, the mane should be cut off completely, and the forelock plaited or also removed.  The tail may be left free, or plaited to match the mane, or cut short, square to the end of the dock to match a cropped mane in a Vaquera horse.   Partbred mares and youngstock with a high proportion of Spanish blood are best presented in the same way as a purebred horse (see above).  The guidelines on excess hair given above also apply to partbreds.  

Partbred Ridden Showing

These guidelines refer to all Pure and Partbred Spanish horses.
Plaiting of manes and tails is optional, but does produce a smart appearance and is recommended.  Manes may be plaited either in Spanish style, conventional plaits, macram style or looped-up long plaits.